Sunday, November 22, 2015

Regarding the new book and Facebook Community, Vancouver Vanishes, I have to say it reminds me of the Modernist heritage battle I was part of in the early 1990's over the fate of the Main Branch Library, a silver Governor General's award winning building designed by Semmens and Simpson in 1957.

It's not that different an issue in the sense that the old character homes being leveled for the uber rich are the victims of the same old gang: greedy developers, super wealthy buyers who care nothing for Vancouver's history and may not even live in these giant houses, plus weasel politicians who dance to their tune.

Like Caroline Adderson, co-author of  both the book, Vancouver Vanishes and the Facebook Community of the same name, I believe whether it's character homes from the early 20th Century or the mid-century West Coast Modernism of my father's generation, we need a collective roar of disapproval from Vancouver's caring citizens.

This never came in the Library issue because at that time Modernism was the enemy. One wag wrote to the Georgia Straight calling that building "evil, phallic Modernism", despite the actual shape of the place. I blame many academics for fostering this ignorant attitude by systematically, and with the apparent blessing of so-called Post Modernist critics, laying at the feet of this movement all the ills of western society.

Doubtless they would say these early houses now being destroyed are relics of colonial and eurocentric thinking and are better off gone. Like the architect of the new library, Moshe Safdie, who called the attempts to save the old library nothing but sentimentality, we are again being over run by a cabal who cares nothing for Vancouver  history, short as it is, who will remind us that, like the old Main Branch VPL, these structures are not worth saving. 

I urge everyone to write Vancouver City Council and join with Caroline in her efforts to save our heritage: